I was born and raised in rural Western Australia. At 17, I moved to the capital, Perth, to attend university, where I trained to be a primary school teacher.
I began writing horror stories while I was at university and continued sporadically over the next few years. Then I got into writing gay erotica, which was more profitable, though less enjoyable. Finally, I got into m/m erotic romance and have been doing that for about 12 years.
I’ve been published in Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, and Germany. My day job is teaching English to international students. I’ve been doing that for the past twenty years.
I actually don’t have a lot of spare time, and haven’t been writing much for the past year. However, I love watching horror movies, listening to music, and going to the beach in the summer.
What was your inspiration to begin writing?
Nothing really inspired me to start writing. It was more of a progression. I was always good at English at school and I especially enjoyed writing. There’s nothing quite like creating worlds. And I’ve always found writing a meditative experience. I especially love it when I lose myself so much in my story that the next thing I know eight hours have passed and it’s getting dark.
How do you handle writer’s block?
I go off and do something else. Generally half-heartedly because while I’m doing whatever I’m doing, my mind is working overtime to come up with viable ideas for my story. If that doesn’t work, I go for a drive.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I think it was after I’d had my second or third story published. I was afraid that my first published story might just have been a fluke. I wasn’t confident enough to call myself a writer until I’d had another story or two published.
How do you do research for your books?
Obviously, I use my own life and those of friends, family and colleagues as resources. Apart from that – the internet. My book “Across the Sea” required a lot of research since I wanted everything to be historically accurate. The problem was I got so caught up in reading that I forgot the reason I was reading.
On a typical day, how much time do you spend writing?
Unlike some writers, I can’t do a bit here and a bit there. I like to lose myself in the story. When I’m in “the zone”, I find the story flows out in great detail, like the story is coming from somewhere else and I’m just recording it. It’s a strange but wonderful sensation when that happens. So I devote the weekends to writing and I can write for 8 or 9 hours straight.
What was your favorite part, and your least favorite part, of the publishing journey?
My favourite part is getting a piece of work accepted for publication. It never gets old. My least favourite part is the rejections. Always disappointing. Even worse, are the publishers who don’t have the decency to fire off a form letter to reject your piece. Their lack of contact is all the answer you’re ever going to get.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I’ve probably written about 60 books, including novellas and novelettes. My favourites, for different reasons, are “Across the Sea”, which is set in colonial Australian times. I am immensely proud of that book. Another favourite is “The Hiding Place”, which got Honorable Mention in the 2013 Rainbow Awards. It is a tale of bullying and the long, lasting effects of it, based on some of the things that happened to me in high school. A lot of gay men have said this story could have been theirs. And it is. Finally, “The King’s Consort” set. The most negatively reviewed, although, bizarrely, my best sellers.
What is the most surprising thing you discovered while writing your books?
As an incredibly impatient person, discovering that I can be patient when absolutely necessary was a surprise. Though that patience tends to disappear when it comes to editing. Not my favourite thing. And I punish myself by doing multiple edits on everything that’s accepted for publication.
Who is your favorite character?
I think Bryan in “The Hiding Place” is my favourite because his experiences are my experiences, and the experiences of a lot of other gay men. I kind of feel very protective of him. I want to reach out and help him, like I wanted someone to reach out and help me when I was going through it.
Tell us about your first published book? What was the journey like?
My first published book, in fact the first two or three, are an embarrassment to me. To be honest, I don’t even know how they got accepted for publication they were so bad. But thankfully they are no longer available.
My fourth published book, which we’ll pretend was my first *wink wink*, was “The King’s Prize”. It didn’t get very good reviews due to the fact some people thought it finished too abruptly. So I set about writing a sequel followed by another two books. To date, it has been my best-selling book and is now being sold as part of a four-book set called “The King’s Consort”.
As for the journey, it was quite a long one. I would send it off to publisher after publisher. Those rejection emails were like punches to the gut. But I persevered and I’m glad I did.
Can you share with us something about the book that isn’t in the blurb?
While writing the story, I was Pan. Whatever happened to Pan happened because that’s where my fantasies took me.
Tell us about the process for coming up with the cover.
I didn’t come up with the cover. My editor created it. And when she showed it to me, I just loved it. It was so simple, but eye-catching and captured the spirit of the story.
What were the key challenges you faced when writing this book?
There weren’t any challenges other than to come up with an interesting story and write it well.
What was the highlight of writing this book?
Getting it accepted for publication. And a second highlight was the first royalty cheque. Who knew….?
Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with your readers?
I’ve just had a short story called “Forgetting” accepted for publication. It deals with a gay couple, one of whom has Alzheimer’s. I’m very proud of the story and I actually cried when I wrote the ending. My darling grandmother died of dementia so it was a story very close to me. The story will be dedicated to her.
I also have a novelette coming out in October called “When You Least Expect It”, which explores the fear of a gay man that he’ll never find anyone to love and to be loved by. The lead character hasn’t had a relationship for over a decade and has resigned himself to the fact that he’ll spend the rest of his life alone…but is that really so? You’ll have to wait to find out. Hahaha.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
Most of my inspiration comes from either dreams, movies or songs.
Who is your favorite author and why?
My favourite author is Clive Barker. His imagination is incomparable. I discovered him via the movie “Hellraiser” and coincidentally a friend was reading “Weaveworld”. After finishing the rather thick novel myself, I was hooked. To date I’ve read everything he’s written, with the exception of his graphic novels. He’s also a talented painter and artist, and gay.
What are you reading at the moment?
At the moment, I’m reading a book called “The Twelfth Planet” by Zecharia Sitchin. It’s an amazing book regarding the origin of human beings based on clay tablets from ancient Sumeria. These tablets predate the Bible, and are the origin for many Bible stories.
What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?
My favourite authors have probably influenced the way I write rather than what I write. The four at the top of the list are Clive Barker, Neil Gaiman, Anne Rice and Michael Crichton.
Who is the author you most admire in your genre?
I don’t really have a favourite author in my genre. Although I’ve read and enjoyed some of Rick Reed’s books, and some of RW Clinger’s.
Favorite quote (doesn’t matter the source)
“You can lead a whore to culture but you can’t make her think.” – Dorothy Parker on the spur of the moment when asked to put the word ‘horticulture’ in a sentence. Brilliant.